Coal News of Phulbari – Bangladesh

News on coal resources & coal basins of Bangladesh

Archive for July, 2008

Govt.’s indecision is the main problem for coal extraction

Posted by phulbarinews on July 27, 2008

Sanchita Seetu

The main problem for coal extraction is the indecision of the govt. The speakers took part in the debate over coal extraction and said there is no alternative of coal extraction and the govt. need to take decision immediately in this regard. But, few of them opined to approve the coal policy first. Dr. Badrul Imam, Prof of Geology at Dhaka University said all the issues like investment proposal, royalty, private-public partnership etc are incorporated in the coal policy, so the coal policy should be finalized first. The other issues, not included in the policy can be resolved through discussion. Mr. Kamrul Islam Siddique, former Chairman of PDB said there are three investment proposals for coal mine development have been awaited for govt.’s approval. These proposals should be approved reviewing the existing Environment Act and Minerals Rules without any delay. Dr. Izaz Hossain, Professor of Chemical Engineering at BUET said a small but economically viable pilot project which is acceptable to all can be started after govt.’s approval; and large scale mining will be commenced minimizing the difficulties arises in the pilot project. The country’s coal reserve can be used to generate electricity of 20,000-MW over a period of next 20 to 30 years. Therefore, coal needs to be extracted depending not on gas only.

SM Mahfuzur Rahman, Prof. of Economics at Dhaka University said the crisis for gas is alarmingly increasing day by day, and it may happen that coal will to be extracted using candle light. Renewable energy is not sufficient to meet the energy crisis. Dr. M Tamim, Special Assistant to CA for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources said the coal policy has been sent to the Advisory Council, and the present investment proposals will be approved by open tendering process following approval of the Advisory Council.

Edited by: M A Hossain


Date: 27 July 2008, Bangladesh


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Will There Be Any Reasonable Coal Policy?

Posted by phulbarinews on July 23, 2008

Farid Hossain

In her farewell speech as the Bangladesh country representative of ADB Hua Du told a group of journalists that she had been impressed with the performance of Bangladesh’s economy. What had stricken her most is the resilience of the Bangladeshis in the face of natural disasters: floods and cyclones. Kudos to the dynamic and resilient people of Bangladesh, a smiling Hua Du said at a recent farewell reception. However, even a super optimist like Huq Du, a Chinese national, was not happy with the way Bangladesh has dealt with power and energy. This sector _ so vital to the economic development _ got no grade points from the outgoing official. What great potentials this sector has in taking the country’s economy to a new heights! But so little has been done! Huq Du could not hide check her. Neither did she mince any words in her criticism.

As the ADB chief in Bangladesh Hua Du did what her organization had wanted her to do: to sell ADB ideas and prescriptions to the government of Bangladesh. Her performance was flawless, near perfect. Power and Energy, however, is one of the few areas where she could not make any impact. On her farewell night she spoke about the country’s coal reserve and the potentials the natural resource has in producing electricity in power-hungry Bangladesh.

Bangladesh has been buffeted with electrify crisis not for lack of resources but for lack of initiatives. That we all know. First, there was the BNP-led coalition government that did nothing to add new electrify to the national grid. No new projects and no new plants. No additional electricity. The demand had kept rising, but there had been no effort to augment the supply. That was when Khaleda Zia was the prime minister during her second term. She kept telling the nation that her government had flooded it with development even though her government inexplicably failed in creating even a single kilowatt of electrify.

Having inherited the crisis from Khaleda’s failed regime the caretaker government of Fakhruddin Ahmed has been in trouble in coping with it. It has not dared to go for any big plan to set up new power plants to meet the growing demand. Instead, it first focused on austerity and better management of electricity consumption. As part of its austerity drive the caretaker government forced the shops in capital city and elsewhere to shut down by 8 p.m. every night. The measure, the government thinks, has helped save some power. Load shedding has remained the central feature in management of consumption. Every one is suffering – domestic, commercial and industrial users. Frequent outages have hurt the economy.

Then came the government initiative to make a coal policy that will be acceptable to all. Coal has grabbed the central stage of the government’s energy policy after some experts _ supported by donors _ concluded that coal _ not the gas _ should be used for producing electricity. According to them Bangladesh should turn its attention from gas to coal to make electricity. Natural gas, once thought to be available on plenty in Bangladesh, is now in short supply. There is also no sign yet when a full scale exploration of gas will be possible. On the other hand coal is available and the current reserve is good enough to attract foreign investment. Asian Energy is there. But there are at least three other companies eyeing on our coal reserve. The four companies, I’ve been recently told, are proposing to investment at least US$5 billion.

The Asian Development Bank and other donors support exploration of coal to produce electricity. The coal policy drafted by a national committee is awaiting government’s approval. Will the policy end the controversy centering the use of coal. Or will it ignite more debate?


Date: 16 July 2008, Bangladesh

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Open Pit Mining Method is Most Suitable Option for Bangladesh

Posted by phulbarinews on July 23, 2008

Dr Raisuddin Ahmad

Senior geologist of LionOre Australia Pty Ltd, Dr Raisuddin Ahmad, has termed Bangladesh’s coal sector a very promising one to accelerate the country’s national economy. Dr. Rais has been working in ‘Black Swan Nickle,’ mine in Carlgorlley, Australia, one of the deepest nickel mine in the world. Born in Narsingdi, Bangladesh, Dr. Rais has obtained his higher degree in geology and mineral industry in Bangladesh, USA and Australia. He was involved in teaching profession for long in Australia. Dr Raisuddin is also a former fellow of Australia’s number one ranking National University said, “Coal can be a useful and effective alternative source of energy to ensure the country’s future energy security and help developing the national economy.”

“But to utilize the country’s coal reserve potentials a bold decision and its immediate implementation are necessary,” Dr Raisuddin Ahmed further stated to Energy & Power Editor Mollah Amzad Hossain during his recent visit to Bangladesh. Following are the excerpts.

EP: Bangladesh has huge coal reserves. But the country is yet to tap its potentials. According to you what are the bottlenecks the country faces and how it can be overcome?

RA: Bangladesh is now facing multifaceted problems like lack of necessary and realistic vision, policy-related complexities and weakness in taking appropriate and timely decisions. Overcoming these bottlenecks is intricate but not impossible. Firstly the government’s vision needs to be changed. The government should be open, free from political confrontation and come out of conservative approach. Appropriate decision should be taken without fear and adequate measures should be taken for its quick implementation. The government must have to maintain strong monitoring especially in the case of social and environmental issues associated with coalmine development and immediate rectification is a must if a wrong is committed. An independent monitoring system can be considered involving eminent scientists, academicians of the country.

EP: How you see the prospect of coal sector in Bangladesh and how it can be utilized?

RA: Coal sector in Bangladesh is very promising. The government must not do any further delay in taking decision on coal sector development. Bangladesh is already lagging behind in utilizing coal resources. The global practice is that around 70-80 per cent of coal is used in coal-fired power plant in the coal-rich countries like USA, China, Germany and Australia. Despite having huge potentials Bangladesh has only one 250 MW coal-fired power plant, which is also struggling for regular supply shortages of coal due to application of wrong mining method in Barapukuria coalmine. The gas reserve of the country is depleting quickly with growing demand and Bangladesh doesn’t have any alternative other than immediate extraction and uses of its coal resources. The preferred option for Bangladesh would be to use coal for base load power generation and save valuable gas resource for other productive uses.

EP: By the way you mentioned about Barapukuria coal mine, what should be the appropriate mining method in Barapukuria?

RA: Geologic reality and economic consideration should come first for selecting mining method. It is very much site specific. In Bangladesh, the main challenge for underground mining is to maintain the subsurface water bearing Dupi Tila layer overlying the coal seams. It is also a challenge for open pit mining. Thick coal seam and unconsolidated overburden materials are also factors in safe and economic mining of the coal resource. Considering the overall geological structure and soil condition of Barapukuria coalmine I must say open pit mining method is most suitable for its mining.

EP: There is a controversy regarding selecting mining method for Phulbari Coal Field. Which method you suggest appropriate for Phulbari?

RA: As the geological structure and soil condition of Phulbari is similar to that of Barapukuria, the open-pit mining method would be a suitable option for getting the maximum benefit out of it. But the authorities concerned must have to be careful about pollution, degradation of environment to maintain a natural equilibrium. Mine dewatering will have significant impacts on underground water regime in the area. But there are well-tested mitigation measures in the world to minimize the impacts of dewatering. RWE Mine, Germany is a great example of efficient subsurface water management. Bangladesh must have to implement those mitigation measures and experiences to ensure availability of water to the affected communities. The local people who will loss their land and other assets for open-pit mining must have to be properly compensated. After coal extraction, the affected lands must have to be reclaimed and rehabilitated for productive uses and should consider returning back to the owner or their successors. The mining should be done in phases to ensure that huge numbers of local people do not need to be rehabilitated at once. The local people must be given proper employment and other opportunities to maintain their livelihood with better status than before.

EP: Bangladesh has several coalfields. According to you how Bangladesh can go ahead to develop those.

RA: As currently Bangladesh has no expertise in coalmining, initially one or two coalmines should be developed with assistance from foreign companies. Foreign companies can develop Bangladesh coalmines under contracts. The remaining coalmines should be kept for local companies to develop. Manpower should be developed through necessary training. Provision should be kept in the contract with foreign companies to ensure employment of maximum number of Bangladeshi nationals. Arrangements should also be there so that local expertise develop seeing and experiencing the works of foreign companies.


Date: 16 July 2008, Bangladesh

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No more gas-fired power plant in country: Tamim

Posted by phulbarinews on July 21, 2008

United News of Bangladesh . Dhaka

Chief adviser’s special assistant for power and energy ministry M Tamim on Saturday said no more gas-based power plant would be set up in the country as there was a shortage of the fossil fuel. He said this while addressing a seminar on Bangladesh’s main challenges to meet future electricity demand, organised by Energy and Power magazine at CIRDAP auditorium.

Referring to the country’s chronic gas crisis that hampers the electricity generation, Tamim said a team was now visiting the gas-fired power plants to identify their efficiency level. Terming the present gas crisis as a legacy of the past, Tamim, a former professor of Petroleum Engineering at BUET, said only one gas field was discovered in the country in the last 10 years. ‘So the present government has to think about gas import.’

He said the use of electricity was increasing day by day because of its low price. Describing the government’s steps to boost gas production, Tamim said state-owned BAPEX was recently allocated the highest fund to expedite its operation. ‘Even we’ve accepted the price that BAPEX offered for its new gas field.’ Calling upon the political parties to reach a consensus on the energy issue he said, ‘We should go for multiple approaches in resolving the country’s power and energy crises.’

’We’re going to hand over power to an elected political government. So, they should use experts to deal with the matters,’ he added. He said the existing coal and gas reserves were enough to ensure the country’s energy security for the next 10 years. ‘So it’s now imperative to take the right decision.’ Taking a swipe at critics, the special assistant said they should come up with their alternative solution to the crisis instead of indulging in criticism.

The seminar was addressed, among others, by Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission chairman Ghulam Rahman, former PDB chairman Quamrul Islam Siddique, Planning Commission member AMM Nasir Uddin, Power Cell director general Abdul Jalil and Petrobangla director Mokbul-e-Elahi.


Date: 20 July 2008, Bangladesh

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No more gas based power plant: Tamim

Posted by phulbarinews on July 20, 2008

Unb, Dhaka

Chief Adviser’s Special Assistant for Power and Energy Ministry Tamim yesterday said no more gas-based power plant will be set up in the country as there is a shortage of the fossil fuel. “No more gas-based power plant to be set up in the country,” he said while addressing a seminar titled ‘Bangladesh’s main challenges to meet future electricity demand’.

Referring to the country’s chronic gas crisis that hampers the electricity generation, Tamim said a team is now visiting the gas-based power plants to identify their efficiency level. Terming the present gas crisis as a legacy of the past, Tamim, a former professor of petroleum engineering of Buet, said only one gas field was discovered in the country in the last 10 years. “So, the present government has to think about gas import.”

He said the use of electricity is increasing day by day because of its cheaper price. Describing the government’s steps to boost gas production, Tamim said state-owned Bapex was recently allocated the highest fund to expedite its operation. “Even we’ve accepted the price that Bapex offered for its new gas field.”

Urging the country’s political parties to reach a consensus on the energy issue, he said, “We should go for multiple approaches in resolving the country’s power and energy crises.” “We’re going to hand over power to an elected political government. So, they should take experts to deal with the matters,” he added.

Taking a swipe at critics, the CA’s special assistant said they should come up with their alternative solution to the crisis instead of doing criticism. Organised by Energy and Power magazine at CIRDAP auditorium, the seminar was addressed, among others, by Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) Chairman Ghulam Rahman, former PDB chairman Quamrul Islam Siddique, Planning Commission member AMM Nasir Uddin, and Power Cell Director General Abdul Jalil.


Date: 20 July 2008, Bangladesh

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Govt stresses coal as a fuel for electricity generation

Posted by phulbarinews on July 14, 2008

R Akter

The government plans to stop using natural gas for electricity generation after 2011, as it faces shortages of fossil fuel..

At present 85 percent of electricity is produced by natural gas. Because of the gas shortage, Tamim suggested use of coal as a fuel for electricity generation. Bangladesh has five coal fields with more than 2.55 billion tonnes of reserves, officials said. “To meet the 300 times more demand for electricity we will require to invest up to $10 billion over the next 20 years,” Tamim said. He said entrepreneurs from Bangladesh will be allowed to invest 51 percent in state-run plants to modernise them, which will help to raise power generation by at least 2,000 MW.

The reserves of natural gas are depleting fast and the country is now facing up to 150 million cubic feet (mmcfd) of gas shortages every day,” said Jalal Ahmed, chairman of Petrobangla, government oil and gas agency. Only 30 percent of Bangladesh’s more than 140 million people have access to electricity, he said.

“The present per capita electricity consumption is 117 KWH (kilo-watts hour), nearly 6 percent of the world average,” he said. Because of old plants, Bangladesh on average can produce only 3,200 megawatts (MW) of electricity, against an installed capacity of 5,200 MW, officials said. “Over the next 20 years as we plan to become a middle income country by raising our economic growth to at least 10 percent from 6 percent now, the country will have to produce about 13,000 MW,” Tamim told a meeting attended by senior officials, business leaders, representatives of development partners and energy experts.

Natural gas is the prime feedstock for producing fertiliser, vital to raise grain production to ensure food security in the country. Also government plans to open its power sector to private investment to help it out of a long-running and deepening crisis, official said. “A policy is being finalised to give private sector full support, which will enable them to invest even in the state-run power plants and make then more productive,” said M. Tamim, special assistant to the chief of Bangladesh’s caretaker government, responsible for power, energy and mineral resources.


Date: 13 July 2008, Bangladesh

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Energy Crisis of Bangladesh–Issues & options

Posted by phulbarinews on July 8, 2008

Saleque Sufi


Bangladesh is passing through a very critical juncture of its history. A nation of about 150 million living in a country of 58,000 square kilometers is struggling against all possible odds that a nation has to encounter for survival. Very difficult global situation of worsening food security and very tight energy security has made its struggle all the more difficult. Bangladesh won independence in 1971 after 9 months of blood birth. The occupation Pakistan army ravaged its economy, sucked its resources and killed its intelligentsia. Unfortunately, democracy did not survive for more than four and half years after independence. While the country was in relentless struggle to set its roots firmly in the ruins the conspirators with the assistance of their plant agents killed the father of the nation and front line leaders of liberation war in 1975.


From 1975 till 1990 brute military in the cover of regulated democracy ruined all the democratic institutions, made corruption, nepotism and anarchy our household affairs. Only money and muscles dominated over plain thinking and honest living. A complete generation of fair and honest thinking Bangladeshis either migrated to foreign countries of became silent majority in Bangladesh. All the values of liberation war and spirits were tarnished. Anti-liberation forces and their agents established themselves very alarmingly. Terrorism set its roots in.


Fortunately dedicated political forces struggled to restore democracy and by early 1990s democracy was restored. Two ordinary housewives, widow of slain President Ziaur Rahman and daughter of martyred Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman led the struggle for democracy. These two ladies in three terms of 5 years each led there democratic government. They try to lead the country at their level best within their serious limitations. But their success was mostly overshadowed by the organized internecine and self-destructive activities of ill motivated civil and military bureaucracy. Consequently, the basic fabric of democracy got infected. The country became a happy hunting ground for corrupt syndicates and terrorists. The country earned the evil reputation of the most corrupt country for several years in succession. This happened despite the fact that our very innovative framers created wonder in agriculture front.


Bumper crops kept the nation of 150 millions alive. Our poor garments girls’ helped earn huge foreign exchange, our hardworking labor force from abroad spiraled our remittance. The majority hard working poor Bangladeshis despite of their honest and sincere nation building efforts were disgraced by atrocities and corruptions of few white colored bureaucrats, technocrats and misguided politicians. Unfortunately several unsocial elements under patronage major political parties sucked the blood of innocent people and earned bad names.


Specially during the tenure of the last BNP-led four-party alliance rule a group of Hawa Bhaban sponsored mafias made the country happy hunting ground for grabbing and looting. Energy sector became the easy prey. While the demand for energy increased geometrically the generation and production remained almost static. By the time the government completed its tenure the energy sector almost became non functional. The immediate past government set all the machineries to manipulate election to continue their evil nation destructing operation. Fortunately, people’s movement led by positively thinking political elements put a halt to the conspiracy of the evil groups. The Care Taker Government took over primarily to create enabling environment for free fair and credible election. But again the evil design of a certain group created impediments at every step. Government appeared to have been driven off track on many issues in some occasions. It faltered time and again, wasted time in unnecessary issues. Consequently it failed to address major issues like food security and energy security.


Repeated natural calamities, global recession, fuel and food crisis also did not help their cause. But the situation has come to a stage where immediate election and handing over or power to elected government has become the necessity of the hour. The energy situation has reached such a terrible stage that even the elected government will have to struggle a lot to bring things back on track over the next elected term.


Recently the author tried to link with friends and senior Bangladeshi expatriate energy professionals sharing their views about present, immediate and long-term energy options for Bangladesh. If all the matters of discussions are to feature in details it cannot be accommodated. However, in the briefest of form these are being addressed here.


Present Energy Scenario of Bangladesh


·      Bangladesh ranks low in terms of both Per Capita Energy Consumption and Energy Intensity.

·      About 32% have access to Power & about 10% have access to Natural Gas.

·      The average daily power demand is 5000 MW and gas demand is about 1900 MMCF.

·      The Effective Power Generation Capacity is 4000 MW and Actual Daily Gas Supply is 1750 MMCF.

·      Transmission Capacities of Power and Gas as well as System loss is not taken into account here.

·      The huge deficit of power and gas supply have created severe energy crisis.

·      The country’s power generation is basically mono fuel based with about 90% produced from Natural Gas.

·      Other options are lone Hydro Electric Plant at Kaptai, The Lone Coal Based plant at Barapukuria and several small furnace oil and Diesel Plants in the northern and Southern Region.


Effects of Uncertain Energy Scenario


·      Gas Supply constraint has restricted power generation specifically in Chittagong region.

·      Power Crisis has impeded industrial operation and almost halted further industrial growth. It tends to stall economy, trade and commerce.

·      This may put already depleting forest resources under severe stress with consequent adverse environmental impacts.

·      The country may drift into chaos and uncertainty, poverty and anarchy may trigger terrorism and instability.

·      Anti Bangladesh elements may try to brand Bangladesh as a failed country.

·      The opportunity lost may prove catastrophic and may entice yet more bright and dynamic professionals to migrate to foreign countries for better living.

·      In this technology driven energy world the consequent brain drain may bring more disasters.

·      The potential FDI in energy and downstream sectors may change direction to Vietnam, Cambodia and other destinations.

·      Even Bangladeshi industrial entrepreneurs may lose incentives to invest.

·      These will create major unemployment crisis and frustrations.


Reasons For crisis


·      Bangladesh failed to set up a functional energy Authority of competent, honest, dynamic energy professionals due to inappropriate policy, lack of good governance, inappropriate human resource development policy.

·      Bangladesh even could not organize effective reservoir management team to asses the exact extent of its reserve and resources and allowed unnecessary debates of theoreticians and thereby policy makers got confused and refrained from taking appropriate decisions at right time.

·      Bangladesh could not develop any energy institution capable to undertake operations independently. Government interfered too much.

·      Bangladesh failed to Develop Bapex as flagship national company in upstream exploration and development.

·      Bangladesh failed to set up a competent unit to monitor and mange operation of IOCs and as such failed to get technology transfer or control costs of IOCs.

·      Bangladesh could not adjust price of fuel in domestic market to international level. As such the high differential in purchase of gas from IOCs and selling in domestic market cause tremendous financial hardship for gas companies. Similarly PDB is in serious trouble with power from IPPs and BPC is almost on the verge of collapse for buying Petroleum at sky scraping price and selling at poor domestic price.

·      Energy companies never allowed working with any freedom and autonomy. Government and Corporation officials dominate company boards. These make the company autonomy mockery.

·      Bangladesh failed to effectively explore and exploit it sizeable gas and Coal resources to extract maximum national benefit.

·      Vast portion of onshore and almost entire off shore area have not been surveyed even for hydrocarbons and minerals.

·      In absence of drilling and depletion strategy Bangladesh destroyed potential Bakhrabad and Sangu gas structures and also allowed minor companies like Occidental and Niko to destroy our resources at Magurchhara and Tengratilla.

·      Petrobangla, PDB and Energy Companies are dominated by unworthy politically blessed civil and Military Bureaucrats and wrong professionals.

·      Very intelligent energy sector mafias misguided even the Care Taker Energy Management. In almost a year and a half CTG failed miserably to bring meaningful changes. Contingency Power Plants are wrong decision. In future another group of people will be brought to dock for wrong decisions. The approach for 450 MW major plants at Nabiganj (Beside Bibiyana) and Sirajganj were OK. But the tendering and evaluation process followed same fussy route to favor blessed ones. Wonder whether similar syndicate is involved in Deep water drilling also.


The present situation requires complete overhauling of energy sector organizations, management and other related matters. We mostly agreed on the following short, mid and long term options.


Actions Required


·      Political Commitment and National Consensus to effectively encounter the Energy Challenges.

·      Properly articulated National Energy Vision and defined Time bound mission to achieve the national vision.

·      Energy issues along with Food, Education, Shelter, Medicare, and Security must be considered basic fundamental rights of the citizen and must be kept clean of politics.

·      Very specific, focussed, comprehensive Energy Sector Master Plan in pursuance with Country’s Energy Policy must be adopted. This must include Power sector development plan, gas sector development plan, Coal sector development plan, Renewable research and development plan, nuclear options, Regional Energy Trading issues.

·      Government must stay out of Energy business and restrict role to policy formulation.

·      Strong Energy Regulatory Commission through transparent policy and strong auditing create level play ground for private and public energy companies to mange and operate all segments of energy value chain in [proper competitive commercial environment.

·      Energy Pricing must be market oriented and Regulatory commission must set proper toll and tariff mechanism.

·      LPG and Coal may be used for domestic and commercial sectors

·      Construct Gas Transmission loop line from Bakhrabd Gas Field to Chittagong City Gate Station.

·      Cairn must complete further exploration of Mognama and Hatiya and keep its contingent actions ready to link probable gas wells to Sangu offshore platform if gas is found.

·      If possible scrap the deepwater drilling tender and go for fresh tender. Arrange proper road shows to attract oil majors to participate in the bidding. In the meantime we must endeavour to complete demarcation of maritime boundary and Exclusive Economic Zone.

·      BAPEX must proceed with Exploration and Development of assigned blocks. Chevron, Cairn, Tullow and Total must carry out exploration in assigned blocks or relinquish.

·      Bangladesh must reopen discussion with neighbours for a probable gas and power regional Grid.

·      Commence coal exploration at Phulbari without delay in the most economic and technically appropriate manner. Start Coal based pant implementation. All shallow coal mines must be put under development soon with the aim to explore and exploit maximum resources maintaining required environmental and safety priorities. The affected people must be properly compensated and rehabilitated.

·      Start works for at least 1000MW capacity Nuke plant adopting the safest and proven technology.

·      Aggressively approach Solar, Wind and Bio fuel options. All the prospects of solar power, wind energy must be exploited. Bangladesh must seek help of Expatriate Bangladeshi Scientists and Professionals for Bio Fuels (Oil from Algae). Bangladesh must interact with Australian Government for Clean Coal Technology and South African Government for Liquid from Coal.


The caretaker government must also discuss energy sector management issues with political parties and professional group. If we fail to appropriately address the present very uncertain and very critical energy situation properly the national economy may suffer serious stagnant situation for a long time. This is not desirable for any peace loving self respecting person.


We must remember continued crisis in Energy sector w3ill cause disastrous situation in our agriculture, commercial and Industrial sectors. Economy will become stagnant and even non functional. It is for our national survival in a very difficult situation we must immediately agree on basic minimum issues in the shape of National Energy Agenda.



Date: 01 July 2008, Bangladesh

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CG for quick use of coal for electricity

Posted by phulbarinews on July 8, 2008

ET Report

The caretaker government has decided to put major emphasis on extracting coal and installing coal-based power plant to meet the increasing electricity crisis and reduce pressure on coal. The decision came from the meeting of the council of advisers that discussed on fuel situation following the power-point presentation by Special Assistant to Chief Adviser Dr M Tamim Wednesday, relevant sources said.

The meeting has brought the coal issue to midterm importance category from long-term one to mobilise highest efforts for the sector. The issue could not be elevated to short-term importance category, as coal extraction and installation of power plant consume time, they said. The meeting, however, has asked the concerned special assistant to finalise the coal policy within shortest possible time and start woks in the coal sector. It was hinted that coal policy might get its final shape and endorsement within a week, sources said.

The government has already taken policy decision to release maximum gas from power generation for using in coal fired generation. The council of advisers reviewed the coal reserves position in the country and emphasied extractions of the resource to go coal for power generation. The country now experiences around 500 mw stranded power capacity due to gas supply limitation. A decision has been taken not to approve any new gas-based power plant from the existing gas reserves. The council also directed the power ministry to install some non-gas based short-term rental power plants in the Chittagong region under government funds to feed the power-starved port city as they could give power within the shortest possible time.

Dr. Tamim in his presentation showed that the port city will not get rid of load shedding soon as the power plants located in Chittagong can’t produce power due to gas shortage, and due to power shortage the PDB could not feed the region through the national grid. The consumption of gas in the last fiscal was around 0.6 trillion cubic feet, although as per the master plan the demand for gas in the country should be 0.6 TCF in 2009-2010. It is learnt that Chief Adviser Dr. Fakhrudding Ahmed expressed deep concern at the power and gas crises in the Chittagong region and asked the power ministry to go for short-term rental plants to serve the port city, as all economic activities there almost ground to a halt due to gas and power shortages.

The government has already taken moves to install seven costly rental power plants, six of them gas-based, in the country but most of the power plants are yet to come into operation as the errant companies selected by the government missed deadlines several times. None of the plants, however, are located in Chittagong. It may be mentioned that despite having serious objections from the Power Development Board (PDB), the Power Division adopted the idea to implement the high-cost rental power plants at the fag end of the BNP-led coalition government’s tenure.

Lately, the government has been planning to install the costly (it would be costlier as it would be non-gas based) plants again as it has no other ‘alternatives’, a meeting source said. Chittagong is running gas and power shortages. It is getting 40-50 mmcfd less gas than required. On the other hand, the average load shedding in Chittagong is 190 MW to 200 MW. The demand of electricity in Chittagong is 490 MW,” a PDB official said. .The country at present is experiencing around 1,500MW of load shedding as the PDB generates around 3,200MW of electricity against a demand for around 4,700MW. Chittagong now faces electricity shortage of around 190MW against its demand for around 490MW while gas shortage in the city has been estimated at around 100 million cubic feet per day.’Even if rental plants come into operation, the situation in Chittagong will not improve much as the Chittagong power plants like Raujan and Shikalbaha are facing gas shortage. Power from other parts of the country cannot be transmitted there as it will create voltage problems. Chittagong needs local power plants’, said the source.

Tamim, however, apprised the meeting that the electricity situation in the port city would improve slightly after the Kaptai hydropower plant increases production.The meeting also asked the ministry to expedite the process to increase gas supply by enhancing the capacity of pipeline and completing work-over programmes on some of the wells in different gas fields.


Date: 06 July 2008, Bangladesh

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India eyes B’desh energy resources

Posted by phulbarinews on July 8, 2008

ET Report

Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee said, Indian policy towards Bangladesh is changing. In fact, right time and environment is required to improve relations between the two countries. He refrained from explaining the state of just time and environment while holding talks with a group of journalists last week at the Syed Nausher Ali Hall of Bidhan Shabha in Kolkata. It was, however, the first time that he did not raise old complaints again.

While Bangladeshi journalists expressed the opinion that exploration of oil and gas in Bangladesh will face setback due to objections raised by India regarding demarcation of maritime boundary he simply said, we are trying to finish the maritime demarcation work promptly. He put emphasis on setting rail link over Bangladesh to other side of India and building energy cooperation between the two countries.

West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee , who is know for his claiming existence of terrorist camp in Bangladesh, was present in the same meeting. He kept complaints hidden and said, the two countries need to be saved from unnecessary doubts. India needs some resources from Bangladesh and Bangladesh also needs some resources from India. We should use the resources through joint programmes. Responding to a question by a senior journalist as to whether ‘some resources’ in Bangladesh include coal and gas he said West Bengal needs several thousands mw electricity, but it has no scope of coal production. We want to utilise the huge coal from Dinajpur in Bangladesh. It would be more comfortable to get coal from Bangladesh than that from China or Indonesia. The proposal of Tata remains pending. Besides, we want to use gas. It is, therefore, there is a link between the dispute over maritime line and the joint use of Bangladeshi resources.

It may be mentioned that there is a similarity between the versions of the anti-oil, gas, coal exploration campaigners in Bangladesh and Indian objections. Many people know it but do not express. The persons involved in anti-mining campaign in Bangladesh have close relations with the CPI (M) government in West Bengal. Those who are active in anti-mining campaigns in Dinajpur maintain close contacts with a section of leftist leaders in West Bengal.


Date: 06 July 2008, Bangladesh

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India searching for new friends

Posted by phulbarinews on July 7, 2008

Shaokat Mahmud

05 July 2008


The special editorial in ‘Amad Desh’ on 05 July prepared focusing on the recent conference among the journalists of Bangladesh & West Bengal’ organized by South Asia Free Media Association (SAFMA) that held on 30th  June to 2nd  July 2008 at Shantiniketon, India. The writer referred to the speech of Indian foreign minister Mr. Pronab Mukhargee who said in the inaugural ceremony of the conference that appropriate time and environment is required to upgrade the relationship between India & Bangladesh. In reply to an opinion of Bangladeshi journalists that offshore oil-gas exploration of Bangladesh will be hindered due to objection by India regarding demarcation of maritime boundary, Mr. Mukhargee only told that they are trying to solve the dispute soon. He also put emphasis on to establish the rail-road transport and cooperation for energy between two countries. Mr. Budhadev Bhattacharia, Chief Minister of West Bengal said Bangladesh possess such resources that India requires for, and India also possess such things that Bangladesh needs on a vice-versa. He also clarified that India wants to use the huge coal resource of Bangladesh deposited in Dinajpur to generate several thousands Mega Watt electricity in the West Bengal. Mentioning the investment proposal by TATA which is under consideration of the govt. of Bangladesh (GoB) he told that they also need gas from Bangladesh. The writer wants to mention here that the Indian objection regarding demarcation of maritime boundary is analogous to the protesting by a certain quarters against exploration and extraction of oil-gas and coal in Bangladesh. There is intimate relationship between the CPI (M) Govt. and the Party of West Bengal and the protesting leftist political wing in Bangladesh. In addition, there is also a very close relationship between a part of the leftist wing of West Bengal and the extremist, former Nakshal followers who are involved in terrorism and anti-mining campaign against the western companies working in the Dinajpur coal mine area. However, the Bangladeshi journalists expressed in the conference that India possesses more responsibility as a big neighboring country to upgrade the relationship. But, unfortunately India is not playing such role. Whereas, open conspiracy is going on from the Indian side against Bangladesh. Mr. Zahiduzzaman Faruk, Secretary General of SAFMA Bangladesh; Abul Asad, Editor of Sangram; Columnist Amanullah Kabir; Shaokat Mahmud, President of National Press Club; Shyamol Datta, Editor of Bhorer Kagoj; Rezowanul Haque, News Editor of Ntv; Tushar Ahmed from UNB among others were present in that conference from Bangladesh side.  


Please see the original article in the following link

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